SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – It appears vaping incidents are up in Santa Barbara schools and, so are suspensions.
Results from a recent survey published by California Healthy Kids revealed that up to 25% of high school students admit to vaping at school.
In the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) that percentage equates to roughly 400 students; half of them admitted to vaping at school within the past month.
Frann Wageneck, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services at SBUSD, said these numbers fit in with a disciplinary trend administrators are currently seeing: THC and nicotine vaping suspensions are up 100%.
She credits a district-wide workshop that teachers and administrators attended this past summer, educating them on what to look for on campus, in terms of behaviors and vaping-related devices.
„As school administrators and teachers, we operate a (Latin) term called „in loco parentis” — „in place of the parent,” Wageneck explained. „And that is the mindset that we use that parents entrust us with their children. We are, in essence, their parents while they’re at school. We would never knowingly allow students to do things to their bodies that are unhealthy. So, we are working very hard to make sure that students are not vaping at school.”
Wageneck said this time last year, the number of suspensions linked to drug and alcohol-related behavior was 30; so far this year the number is 60.
„I think what is the biggest deterrent is actually when peers tell other students 'It’s dangerous,'” Wageneck said. „And, we hear, you know, we have 25% of students who have vaped or are vaping. That means we have 75% who aren’t and it’s normal for adolescents to listen to each other,”
California has earmarked $20 million dollars for a new anti-vaping campaign.
Wageneck said with whatever slice of state funding the District receives, she would like to see a task force made up of family, schools, public health, pediatricians, coaches, places of worship, among others — all coming together to combat the vaping crisis.
A special a Vaping Information Event, geared for parents and students, will be held Tuesday, October 29 at Washington Elementary School. The hour-long event is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.
Wageneck said there will be two additional workshops: one in January 2020 and a third in March.